Some news begins to settle,
in the places where disbelief has left its footprint
you’ve gone, but in leaving you’ve taken me
one, maybe two steps further along in this life
i think i understand why they say,
i knew you, once upon a time,
or at least,
i thought i knew you a little bit
i understand there is little that was what it seemed
it’s like a single thread unravelling from a sweater;
one minute, it’s fine, and the next, there’s a gaping hole
except that the hole i feel isn’t in me,
it’s in the fabric of life itself
and life is coursing through,
pulling me upwards in its path
one thing comes over and again to mind:
koi aapse agar kuch maange,
to usse dedo,
aakhir, yehi to hai zindagi
if someone asks you for something,
then give it,
after all, this. is. life.
this is life,
this is life,
the one time we can love, and breathe, and aspire
the one time we can rise above our human selves
to fulfil the hopes and desires of another being
the one time we can ourselves be
what did i give you,
you, who suffered
unknown to me?
what did i shower on you then,
that i now deserve to pick like fruit
the truth of your hard-lived example?
someone suffered, deeply, quietly,
but we did not know his mind
someone struggled, beautifully,
and we are uplifted with admiration
that we thought we knew him, even for a day.
* * *
A childhood friend has passed away. This piece is a reflection on life, death, and everything in between. Shukhar (among other things) is often said upon a person’s death, by those who follow the Shia Imami Nizari Ismaili tariqa (interpretation) of Islam (and by others Muslims well).